|Nicklas Lidstrom #5 of the Detroit Red Wings works the front of the net with Patrick Marleau #12 of the San Jose Sharks during an NHL game at HP Pavilion at San Jose October 30, 2008 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Don Smith/NHLI via Getty Images) |
A possible preview of the Western Conference Final will be staged Thursday in Detroit when the red-hot San Jose Sharks invade Joe Louis Arena to battle the defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings.
The anticipated matchup pitting the top two teams in the West is the second meeting between the clubs this season. In the earlier contest on Oct. 30, San Jose scored a 4-2 victory as Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov made 25 saves. In the post-game press conference following the game, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock admitted his team got "winged."
"I thought they did everything exactly like we try to do," Babcock said. "They just did it better."
The fact San Jose coach Todd McLellan spent three seasons as an assistant to Babcock in Detroit before taking the reigns as head coach in San Jose last June probably had a lot to do with that.
|Mike Babcock Detroit Red Wings Todd McLellan San Jose Sharks |
"Todd and I have texted and talked a couple of times and I'm thrilled for him," Babcock told NHL.com. "He's doing a real good job and he's got a real hungry team. They have had tons of success and haven't had the playoff success they wanted. He's got his guys chomping and they've come of age. Adding (Dan) Boyle and (Rob) Blake has really solidified their back end and gets the puck going for them. And, Todd is a real good coach and a real good man. So, I'll be thrilled for him right up until playoff time."
Boyle downplayed the fact San Jose (24-3-3) is currently six points better than the Wings (20-5-4). Air time
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